The following is a visitor-submitted question or story. For more, you can submit your own sleep story here, or browse the collection of experiences and questions other visitors have shared here.

My Husband Attacked Me In My Sleep Due To REM Behavior Disorder And I'm Terrified

by Rachel

My husband and I have had a great marriage. He's a wonderful man who wouldn't hurt a fly, and wouldn't let anyone hurt me, especially never himself. He's always done some strange things during his sleep, from moaning, to even doing a karate chop, and different things, that never warranted me to be scared, and he was easily woken by me just shaking his arm briefly, and would quickly fall back asleep.

However, this past Thursday night, my daughter came into our bedroom to tell about a nightmare she had. My husband was asleep and never awoke. I put our daughter to bed, and then came back into our room and climbed into bed next to my husband again. He had all the covers close to him, so I tugged the covers ever so slightly and said "babe, can i have some covers?", he FLIPPED around to face me so fast and then SHRIEKED at the top of his lungs. And not like a scream of fear, but more like he was trying to scare something away, a very deep shriekd, eyes wide open staring at me.

He then put his hand around my throat and forcefully pushed me off the bed causing me to knock into the nightstand, hurt my arm and fall onto the floor. As i scrambled to get up, he got up out of bed so quickly and stormed after me cornering me in the hallway, but standing about 1 1/2 feet in front of me, STILL shrieking loudly, hands up in the air, and one of his knees up in the air, almost like a karate move that you would make, he stayed like this, eyes staring into mine, his tongue hanging out and just screaming at the top of his lungs at me, this lasted for about 4 minutes straight.

I was screaming and absolutely terrified that he was about to attack me, with my daughter sleeping behind the door right behind me. Finally, he lowered his arms and knee, closed his mouth, looked at me and gave me this evil grin, turned around, walked back into the bedroom, laid down on his side of the bed, and just closed his eyes. After that I said "Babe, is it you? is it you?" over and over again, becuase I was so scared, and he was just looking at me confused and said "what? what's wrong???", and i told him what he did, crying my eyes out. and he then was so scared.

He thought he had been posessed, he said he vaguely remembered screaming and doing something with his arms, but he had no idea he was actually doing it in real life. He was crying, and my husband NEVER cries. He was scared that he had just done what i showed him. I ended up making him sleep in a hotel becuase i was deathly scared to go back to sleep next to him, i was absolutely terrified and STILL am.

The next night i slept at a friend's house, and for the last 3 nights I have slept next to him, but i awake between 3-5am and can't fall back asleep because I am scared to move a muscle no matter how stiff my arms/legs are from being terrified to move thinking that I will awake him and he will attack me again.

I'm terrified now during the day and terrified of the dark. Every sound and movement scares me. I'm so afraid that although it hasn't happened since, that next time, he could possibly kill me. I don't know what to do. I love my husband and he has been the most caring, amazing, and sweet man I could ever imagine, but I am terrified of him when he's asleep. Please anyone that has any advice whatsoever, I just don't know what to do, and I would love some reassurance that this won't happen again, but I think I may be foolish to think that it won't. Please help.

Comments for My Husband Attacked Me In My Sleep Due To REM Behavior Disorder And I'm Terrified

Click here to add your own comments

Jan 26, 2013
Be safe NEW
by: Anonymous

I don't think you two should handle this alone. It is a medical condition. Ask you doctor for a referral to a sleep specialist. I don't know much about it, but there may be medications that can help your husband not act out his dreams. Your family doctor may be able to prescribe something as well. My father has the same thing, though not so dramtic and I did research into it for him.

May 13, 2013
Attacked husband NEW
by: Anonymous

My recent episode of night terrors has been the worst one yet... I am seeking medical attention asap! I woke up to my husband asking why I was holding my hand over his face and trying to keep his hands away. I had no idea what was going on but he kept asking(he was obviously frieked out) I am not a violent person! I started crying and saying idk, idk. I was frieked out myself thinking i am a psycho or something( I have normal intelligence, and am a christian) so this was very scary. I am afraid to go to bed now as to not wanting to hurt him again. :''''(((

Jun 23, 2015
Grabbed my girlfriend’s neck with one hand while asleep with my eyes open NEW
by: Justin

Last night, I was apparently twitching my arm, and my girlfriend was awake while I was sleeping. She touched my arm while my head was facing hers, and my eyes opened while I was still asleep. Her eyes were looking directly into mine, and I suddenly got up and grabbed my girlfriends throat with one hand, she screamed and moved away, and I suddenly woke up and was startled. I immediately wanted to cuddle with her and make her feel better. I did not know what happened, because I was completely unaware of my behavior. I think I might have been subconsciously scared, I do not know. I had absolutely no control over what I did, and my eyes were open while I was still sleeping, and I woke up while my eyes were open. I never experienced this before, and it is very weird. My girlfriend was crying, and I felt bad. I had no idea what I did until she explained it after words and I was thinking through what just happened. It was like being possessed and not in control of my own body. It was very strange.

Sep 04, 2015
wht to do wht is it NEW
by: Anonymous

last night i again woke up to see my husband doing strange he was peeking trought our room door and was smiling ear to ear and saying if this has happened and then i said wht r u doing and his face expressions change to woke up in sleep within a sec and said i was looking for blanket it scared me out after that he wake up walk to my side of bed and went back quickly. it didn't happened for 1st time couple days ago i woke up because he was hitting something on our bedroomfloor

Sep 04, 2015
wht to do wht is it NEW
by: Anonymous

last night i again woke up to see my husband doing strange he was peeking trought our room door and was smiling ear to ear and saying if this has happened and then i said wht r u doing and his face expressions change to woke up in sleep within a sec and said i was looking for blanket it scared me out after that he wake up walk to my side of bed and went back quickly. it didn't happened for 1st time couple days ago i woke up because he was hitting something on our bedroomfloor

Oct 20, 2015
I am scared of what I did NEW
by: Anonymous

So, at around 340 am this morning I attacked my fiance. I have no idea why; but my fiance tells me she was catching me from falling and I woke up to grab her throat and yell at her. I vaguely remember this in dream, and apparently; I pulled her hair too. I remember her scent pulling me out of it and just feeling paranoid and frightened, while holding a crying loved one. She seems scarred by what happened, what can I do?

Mar 03, 2016
Husband with night terrors NEW
by: Anonymous

My husband has similar instances. When he is sleeping, if he is startled, sometimes he will "wake up" and scream at the top of his lungs. He tried to hit me once during one. He wakes up after and does not remember much, only dream like terror/nightmare. After the second time, I made him see a doctor who said it was night terrors. Apparently it is rare for adults to have them. He prescribed a seizure medication, but we opted not for him to take it because of the side effects. Looking back, we realized that there were similar triggers. They happened when he was really stressed. He was asleep first and startled awake (a loud noise, me waking him and talking). When it happens now, I flop on top holding him and telling him it's me and ask him to wake up. Once he wakes up, it stops.

Mar 13, 2016
husband hitting NEW
by: Anonymous

Should I be concerned. My husband is on donecpt for first stage of Alzheimer's. He sometimes screams or talks in his sleep but lately he has started to hit and punch me in his sleep. He gets a fright and wakes up and realizes what he as done and has said he is concerned about what he is doinghe he says he is also very concerned and says what else he could do to me do without knowing
Please I need advise

Jun 13, 2016
Re: Husband attacked NEW
by: Anonymous

Thankfully I didn't hit my wife last night. But this just happened to me. And I think the only reason I didn't attack her is because I'm a light sleeper. But I was asleep, and she was coming to bed, and our door made a noise when she opened it and I must have been in a dream or something because the next thing I knew was that she was screaming at me and I was out in the hallway right in her face and she thought I was going to attack her. It was horrible. I woke up, I was disoriented, and I felt terrified the rest of the night with chills going up and down my back. Even this morning it still gives me the heeby-jeebies. I don't ever want that to happen again.

Jun 16, 2016
Afraid of future terrors NEW
by: Rose

Last night, for the first time, my boyfriend woke up screaming like someone was killing him. It scared me so bad, I was shaking. His mom suffers from the same thing too but she sleepwalks so I am scared that my boyfriend will start to sleepwalk and possibly hurt me. He has anger issues (though he would never hurt me) so that's why I am afraid he'll end up hurting me in his sleep thinking I'm something or someone else.

Jul 08, 2016
accidentally grabbed my moms throat in my sleep NEW
by: Rionna

Ive had a similar experience. However I had went to bed early the one night and later my mom had come in to say goodnight to me and I awoke with my mom sitting on my bed and I realized that I was grabbing her throat very hard. She later described to me that I was digging my finger nails into her and trying to pull her throat off. She didn't want to startle me when I grabbed her throat so she da there and gently tried to wake me. When I realized what I was doing I began to bawl and hug her and apologize. I would never want to hurt her and I had no idea I was even doing it until I woke up...

Oct 04, 2016
This has gotten outta hand NEW
by: Anonymous

This happened to me yesterday afternoon. My boyfriend works graveyard shifts. Well he got off work and came over and went to sleep. It was durning the day so I was up well I went to the living room for a second and when I got back in the room and was about to get in bed and cuddle up with him. His eyes opened wide and he started yelling and cussing as me telling me to get the f*** back. It scared me. He started kicking as me . As I backed up he jumped out of bed and acted like he was about to punch me still yelling at me. As I tried to walk out my room because I didn't know what was going on we were in the hallway and he started to strangle me . I couldn't breathe. I kept trying saying babe it's me calm down. Right before I was about to pass out from not breathing . I got his hands from around my neck and ran away. I was terrified! I still as right now I'm on the couch because I'm so scared if I move the wrong way he will kill me. I honestly don't know what to do . I love him but I just can't sleep next to him until we figure out what's going on .

Oct 13, 2016
Sleep in separate rooms! NEW
by: Anonymous

I've been suffering with my husband's sleep terrors for 26 years. It's not fun. He screams, cusses, runs around the room, grabs me, and smacks me. He tried medication for it, but it made him so tired during the day that he couldn't function at work. Honestly, the smartest thing to do is just to sleep in separate rooms. I need to take my own advice and do that.

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Stories of REM Sleep Behavior Disorder.

Enjoy this page? Please help us pay it forward to others who would find it valuable by Liking, Sharing, Tweeting, Stumbling, and/or Voting below.

About This Site

Welcome! This site is continuously being created by students of Dr. William C. Dement's Sleep And Dreams course at Stanford University.

We made this site as a call to action for people all over the world to live healthier, happier, safer, and more productive lives by learning about their own sleep. We have faith that reading the information provided on this site will motivate you to be smart about your sleep deprivation and strategic about your alertness in order to live life to your fullest, most energetic potential.

In fact, we challenge you to do so! What do you say, are you up for the challenge?

A Note On Visitor-Submitted Questions:

Publishing sleep stories and questions from our visitors is meant to create a forum for open and proactive dialogue about an extremely important portion of our lives (one that occupies 1/3 of it and affects the other 2/3) that isn't talked about enough. It is not meant to substitute a trip to the doctor or the advice of a specialist. It's good to talk; it is not good to avoid consulting someone who's profession it is to help you with this kind of stuff.

If you are in any way concerned about your sleep health, don't wait for an answer on here, and don't necessarily rely on them. See a sleep specialist in your area as soon as possible.

More Questions:

Ask | Answer

The Stanford Sleep Book

Stanford Sleep Book Picture

Dr. Dement's pioneering textbook has been the core text for Sleep and Dreams since 1980, but it has just recently been made available to the wider public for the first time.

In it you'll find a more detailed account of the most important things you need to know about sleep, alertness, dreams, and sleep disorders. Studies, statistics, plus plenty of Dr. Dement's classic anecdotes painting the history of sleep medicine.

Preface | Intro | Contents | Get A Copy

More Sleep Resources

The Zeo

A revolution in personal sleep tracking, the Zeo is a wireless headband that transmits your brainwaves in realtime to a dock (pictured here) or your smartphone. The result? You can wake up and see exactly what stages of sleep you were in during the night! Unprecedented personalized sleep knowledge.

Sleep Paralysis: A Dreamer's Guide

Sleep Paralysis Treatment Book

Ever woken up paralyzed? A surprising number of us have, believe it or not. But few know the actual causes of this phenomenon, and fewer still how to exert control over it. Dream researcher and sleep paralysis expert Ryan Hurd shares breakthrough insights into how to do just that.

Important Disclaimer

Please Note:

The information found on this page and throughout this site is intended for general information purposes only. While it may prove useful and empowering, it is NOT intended as a substitute for the expertise and judgments of healthcare practitioners.

For more info, see our
Terms of Use.